After picking up my copy of Gears of War
at my local Gamestop, I headed straight home to check out the flagship title for the Xbox 360. After completing the first act, I really like what I've experienced so far.
The character models, environments, and effects are phenomenal. It really is the best looking game on the console bar none. The only gripe I do have is that the coloring is quite heavy on the grays making some areas a little bland but that's the bleak future for you I guess.
Controls aren't as tight as I thought they would be and the heavily extended action button can frustrate you at times. There were instances where I just wanted to run straight up to a spot but because there were so many obstacles to take cover along the way I'd stop at a few of them and dive behind. That's not bad when that's what you want to accomplish but to run to a certain point can be a little annoying. I will say that the ability to run quickly to a cover point and duck behind without having to let go of the action button works well when that is your intention.
It only took a few times of dying before I decided that cover and fire is the best way to go. My FPS game style is in your face as I usually try to work my way up close to someone and take them out while running around constantly. You can't really do that in Gears as you'll be mowed down pretty quickly by gun fire. Utilizing the environment is the key and strategizing your way around to flank the enemy will keep you alive a lot longer.
I really like how they implemented the chainsaw. It's not like DOOM's where you rev up and go. Once you are revved up to take out a Locust, you'll be treated to a nice gory feast of flesh and blood spraying everywhere. After you finish off an enemy, you'll need time to reset. While it's an instant kill with the chainsaw, you won't be mowing down rows of enemies at a high rate this way. The design does help balance out the weapon. The first time a wretch comes jumping at you while you have the chainsaw ready is pretty exhilarating.
Overall through the first act I am really enjoying the game. I am looking forward to playing it cooperatively. Gears of War will no doubt be a big hit and it's about time the Xbox 360 got a really killer game. Look for Chuck's great review of it soon.